Grand Rapids earns gold for public health policies

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The city of Grand Rapids received a 2020 gold medal rating from CityHealth for improving the health and well-being of its residents through policy.

Each year, CityHealth — an initiative of the de Beaumont Foundation and Kaiser Permanente — awards the 40 largest U.S. cities gold, silver and bronze medals according to the strength and number of the policies they have in place to improve people’s day-to-day quality of life, well-being and health.

This year, CityHealth opened the opportunity to small and midsized cities for an opt-in pilot program. Grand Rapids self-reported its 2020 policies in the midsized city category.

The opt-in pilot provided CityHealth with a way to test the program and make it more available to other leadership cities voluntarily. CityHealth chose Grand Rapids as a pilot city to assist and test ways to assess the program and accurately report on the CityHealth policy practices.

Under the direction of Chief Customer Service and Innovation Officer Becky Jo Glover, the city participated and provided results and feedback, and helped CityHealth design a national system for midsized and smaller jurisdictions to assess and report. Through the process and review, Grand Rapids earned recognition in seven of the nine policy areas.

“In a year where the city faced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we proved that our local officials, businesses and community are resilient and work together to improve the health and well-being of our residents,” Glover said.

Of the nine policy categories on which CityHealth bases its ratings, Grand Rapids received a gold ranking for:

  • Complete streets accessible for safe walking, biking, driving and public transit
  • Safer alcohol sales
  • Smoke-free indoor air
  • 21 years old and older tobacco policies
  • High-quality, accessible pre-kindergarten

Grand Rapids also received a bronze medal for earned sick leave policies.

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